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CODE 72322
SEMESTER 1° Semester
MODULES Questo insegnamento è un modulo di:


The objective of this course is to provide the concepts, procedures, decision analysis techniques necessary to design machine elements commonly found in mechanical devices.



The course aims to provide students of the knowledge and understanding of the criteria of structural design of the main mechanical members.


The aim is to introduce the student to Machine Design as a branch of Mechanics that tackles structural and resistance problems of mechanical components, focusing on the design of the single machine part and providing hints on the design choices of a machine in its entirety.

Attendance to lectures and guided exercises and individual study will allow the student to:

  • learn the general aspects of Machine Design
  • study the solids mechanics basic models and recognize these patterns in machine parts and structures to deal with them through appropriate simplification
  • learn the computation methods of these elements when subjected to static and dynamic loads
  • identify the structural criticalities of the machine parts and outline constructive measures to avoid or at least reduce them
  • master the use of the mechanical characteristics of the materials most used in the mechanical and structural fields, making use of both pre-existing databases and interpretation of experimental results, and simplified methods validated also at a regulatory level
  • achieve a clear vision of the physical aspects of the analyzed structural behaviors
  • understand the reliability of the results obtained with conventional computation methods
  • know how to extend the principles learned to new elements, not covered in the course



The lectures and the practical exercise classes, showing real engineering examples, are aimed at showing the ways of simplifying a real object in an appropriate model, for which explicit computations can be carried out through analytical formulas. By consulting appropriate diagrams, the criticalities of the structures, both in the static and dynamic field, are highlighted, taking as case study examples various numerical analyzes on components of mechanical, naval, civil and biomechanical types. In this way, the students are encouraged to learn the skill of extrapolating and generalizing from the specific problem to problems never faced. All the diagrams concerning the mechanical characteristics of the materials are built step by step, starting from real data deriving from experimental tests. 


1st part – Fundamentals of machine design: recalls

Equation of the elastic line.

2nd part – Criteria of structural design

Static strength of materials. Ideal or equivalent stress. Strength criteria for ductile materials. Strength criteria for brittle materials. Safety condition: Limit stress, Safety factor, Admissible stress.

Notches and their effect. Elastic and experimental stress concentration factor. Safety condition in presence of notches.

Fatigue in metallic materials. Fatigue spectra.

High cycle fatigue: Wöhler curves; Influence of the mean stress; Notches and their influence; Size factor; Surface factor. Safety condition for stresses of constant amplitude. Safety condition for stresses of variable amplitude: Cumulative damage.

Long columns with central loading. Euler column formula.

3rd part – Shafts and associated parts; keys, Woodruff keys, pins

Thin-walled vessel design


Reference books:

J.E. Shigley, “Mechanical Engineering Design”, MCGraw-Hill

R.E. Peterson, “Stress Concentration factors”, Wiley-Interscience Publication

R.C. Juvinall, “ Fundamentals of machine component design”, John Wiley & Sons




Class schedule

The timetable for this course is available here: Portale EasyAcademy



The exam includes a written test and an oral test.

The written test consists of an exercise to be solved within 2 hours. During the test, only the use of the calculator is allowed. Smartphones have to be switched off.

Those who obtain a score of at least 18/30 for the written test can access the oral exam. Those who do not pass the written test have to repeat it in any official scheduled date.

The oral exam, which can be held within a calendar year after passing the written test, includes two questions: one on the topics of Machine Design and one for those of Machine Drafting. A failed oral exam does not invalidate the written test which can be reused in the future (within one year).

The final mark is given by the average of the marks of the oral and written tests: if it is a decimal, it is rounded to the upper unit.


The written test assesses the student's ability to:

  • schematize a device by converting its elements to types that can be solved with algorithms (beams, plates, etc.)
  • apply the appropriate constraints between the various elements and between them and the frame
  • schematize the loads acting on the structure
  • draw the characteristics of stress in specific sections
  • identify the most stressed areas
  • dimension the critical areas by choosing the right material
  • unambiguously present the product, according to the European projections method

The oral exam focuses on the topics faced during the lectures and aims to assess to which extent the student:

  • has assimilated an adequate level of knowledge about the legislation
  • has acquired the ability to logically face problems that will be posed during the test
  • can illustrate theories and solve problems
  • expresses his thinking clearly
  • uses appropriate terminology
  • uses a methodological approach oriented to manufacturing feasibility
  • interprets and formulates principles related to the description of parts in a univocal, unambiguous and non-redundant manner


Suggested pre-requisite: Applied Mechanics, Technical Drawing

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